Status update

Test results for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases – there’s an app for that. 

Hula is an app that makes the testing process suck a little less. The app makes STD testing easier and more accessible and allows people to get their results quicker.

After getting tested for diseases, many students wait for a callback, never receive one and assume they’re safe. Ramin Bastani, founder and CEO of Hula, wanted to put an end to the waiting game.

“No news is good news,” Bastani said. “We want that to stop. We want you to get your results as fast as possible. We want to empower the patient.”

Hula also helps its users find nearby STD testing centers. Once tested, the results are sent directly to the app. Users are then able to share the results with anyone they allow to see their profile. There is also a feature that reminds users when it’s time to get tested again.

Earl Washington, a senior psychology student from Fort Lauderdale, recognizes that this kind of app is important, especially in a college town such as Tallahassee.

“I’ve heard of a lot of people doing random hookups,” Washington said. “So if they’re going to be doing that, they might as well be safe about it.”

Safety is key. According to the Florida Department of Health, Leon County ranks highest in the state for the most reported cases of STDs, according to a report released in 2012.

Recent reports released in 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that African-Americans are at high risk for new HIV infections.

According to the report, African-Americans account for 44 percent of new HIV infections, and men make up 70 percent of the new HIV infections among African-Americans.

Bastani noted that one out of every 16 African-American men and one out of every 32 African-American women will contract HIV. Bastani said creating Hula has helped him to make an impact, and he hopes that it will make more people go get tested so they can “get laid safely.”

Stephone Baker, a senior pre-physical therapy student from Orlando, worries that the app may cause students to commit self-harm due to the lack of emotion from a cellphone screen.

“Personally, being a health student, that doesn’t sit right with me,” Baker said. “It’s a good thing, but at the same time, for things like that, you should get it (results) personally. You have to think about the emotional aspect of it.”

Hula is available online and on Apple devices, but Bastani said the company is working on an app for the Android system.

Hula and Bastani are focused on helping all types of people, no matter the sexual orientation or the number of partners someone has had.

“You want to trust and verify,” Bastani said. “You want to make sure someone is telling the truth. We’re very much to each its own. We’re not here to judge.”